Types of weapons used in LARPs
Boffer Weapons, at the most basic level are weapons that that are created using PVC with a single layer of foam covering. These are wrapped in duct tape. These weapons do not have enough padding to be completely safe for full impact fighting.
One specific sub type of these are called heavy boffer weapons. These are basically the same except that the PVC is reinforced with strapping tape. These weapons are typically used for full impact fighting but they do normally require heavy use of armour.
Another class of weapons used in LARPs are called padded weapons or foam weapons. These have a minimum of double the padding found in regular boffer weapons. These are usually made using carbon fiber or fiberglass which makes them lighter and more practical.
In Europe, a much more common type of weapon found is the latex weapon. Latex weapons don’t have anywhere near the padding found in other weapons and they can’t be used for full impact fighting. Players need to be careful to pull back before imact. These are the best looking and most realistic weapons used in LARPs.
Building Boffer Weapons
The first thing that many people think of when planning to build a boffer weapon is how it will look. One of the most exciting parts of building your own weapon is that you will have something completely unique that will just look really awesome. One of the main focuses is on creating something impressive with a realistic look that helps immerse people in a fantasy world.
While looks are important there are several different practical considerations to take into account. Durability is important. Nobody wants a weapon that breaks after the first time they use it. Even beyond creating something that will not break it is desirable to have something that feels firm, stable, and sturdy. You definitely don’t want a sword that is flimsy with a wobbly handle. That is why it is so important to put a lot of thought into the construction of a weapon and to make sure that you create something that will actually feel good when you hold it.
Safety isn’t always the first thing to come to mind but it is by far the most important. That is if you plan to actually use the weapon in an actual LARP. If you are only building something to hang on your wall, then safety can be overlooked. Padding has a direct impact on how hard of a blow can be used in combat and how much armor is needed. These are all based on standards that vary from group to group and from one game to another. Each organization has its own standards for safety and weapon construction.